Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Living Below the Poverty Line - As Good as Dead

Generally speaking, a single person with no other special circumstances earning less than $9,350 a year in employee wages need not file a federal income tax form. But on the other hand, if you were a self-employed individual and had more than $400 in earnings from self-employment during the year, you may need to file. (WTF?) Source

And even if you're living below the government's definition of "poverty", you might still owe federal income taxes.

For a single adult in 2009, the poverty line in America was $10,830 in pretax cash income. So even without deducting income taxes, if you grossed over this amount, the government doesn't consider you poor.

That's $902 a month before taxes that the government claims is enough for rent, heat, and food...before you're classified as living below the poverty line. (Nancy Pelosi's rent on her San Francisco "office" is $22,000 a month).

By comparison, $7.25/hr (the federal minimum wage) X 40 hours a week X 52 weeks a year = a GROSS wage of $15,080 year ($209 a week before taxes), which is less than the weekly average of unemployment benefits ($309 a week before taxes).

* Newt Gingrich doesn't think that billionaires should have to pay ANY capital gains taxes, which is usually the bulk of a very wealthy man's "income".

Last Fall the New York Times reported that the total for all Americans living in poverty in 2010 was almost 44 million (out of a total of 309 million) - that's over 14% of our population, which is about what the true U-3 unemployment rate is today.

Today on MSNBC they just reported that the new poverty rate in 2011 for kids in America as now 25% (up again from last year). So, assuming that "kids" don't live alone and are not the head of any household, I wonder how many adults WITH children live in poverty?

But how many people WITHOUT children also live in poverty? Any person without an income (but has a child) can qualify for financial assistance, food stamps, and healthcare. But by NOT having children, one can only get 6 months of food stamps - but only if they're totally indigent.

But if they're homeless, they can't even qualify for food stamps because one needs an actual address of a place of residence when applying. Forms are sent and returned, telephone interviews are conducted, and appointments are made to determine qualifications and eligibility...a very difficult process to complete when one is homeless and living on the street.

Homeless people can only walk to a food bank (if they can find one that's open and is still stocked), and just hope for the best; a homeless man is not guaranteed a bed at a homeless shelter either - a woman WITH a child has a much better chance.

SINGLE FEDERAL INCOME TAX FILERS - If you want a tax refund (gross earnings/tax bracket)

$0 – $8,500              10% of taxable income
$8,500 – $34,500      10% of $850 plus 15% over $8,500
$34,500 – $83,600    15% of $4,750 plus 25% over $34,500
$83,600 – $174,400   25% of $17,025 plus 28% over $83,600
$174,400 – $379,150 28% of $42,449 plus 33% over $174,400
$379,150+                33% of $110,016.50 plus 35% over $379,150 - but remember all the special loop holes? Bonuses and stock options are paid in lieu of actual salaries or wages, and taxed at a flat rate of only 15% - the same as those earning only $34,000 a year. And Newt Gingrich is proposing we eliminate capital gains taxes entirely!

The "officially" poor (those earning less than $10,830 a year) can barely live - but people like Newt Gingrich wants to eliminate their food stamps while also eliminating taxes for the extremely wealthy too!

If you're a man in America and you lose your job, exhaust your unemployment benefits, have no children, and have no place to live after an eviction, you're as good as dead in America if the Republicans had everything they wanted.

1 comment:

  1. I earn $926 a month in Social Security Disability benefits (for the last nine years); you would be surprised at how many social service programs that cuts me out of, including food stamps, due to "excess income." I'm not kidding.